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Could offering the ACA benefit your business?

Author: ICAEW Insights

Published: 04 Nov 2022

In a recruitment and retention crisis, offering to train the next generation of accountants could be the ticket to developing homegrown financial talent.

More than 5,000 organisations are currently registered to train ACA students, enabling them to reap the benefits that the ACA qualification can bring and address skills issues head on by developing the next generation of chartered accountants.

Those who have earned their ACA badge know all too well what to expect from individuals who have been through the rigorous qualification process – from strategic thinkers to ethical trusted advisers at the top of businesses and practices across the globe.

With organisations currently struggling to recruit and retain top finance talent, offering ACA training brings with it a number of benefits: not only does it allow you to attract future finance professionals as part of a succession planning strategy, your organisations will also get a significant return on investment thanks to the commercial acumen and technical knowledge developed through the ACA curriculum.

John Donohoe, ICAEW member and Partner at ABG, says the firm is delighted to offer the ACA route to qualification. “We know first-hand what a great achievement gaining an ACA qualification is, and it is a highly respected and recognised professional qualification. We want our trainees to stay with us, develop their skills, and at the same time have a great qualification behind them,” he says.

From trainee to financial director

Vincenzo Leporiere, Finance Director at Hays Recruitment, was trainee number one at Hays when it became an Authorised Training Employer for the ACA back in 2011. He says that those who choose to train through a company over an accountancy firm can truly benefit from a tailored programme, become embedded in a business’s culture, and put the theory into practice from a business context. 

“It’s a bit different from the larger firms where you see hundreds of people going in every year and coming out the other end,” he says. “We don’t need hundreds of trainees, so we tend to be more selective and have an intake of two people a year.

“What we do see, which is different from some of the larger employers, is that our retention is phenomenal,” Leporiere adds.

Originally the finance team brought in people with a mix of finance qualifications, but having identified skills gaps in the workforce, Hays chose to become an ICAEW Authorised Training Employer. The financial director at the time was an ICAEW member who wanted to set the recruitment bar high. “When it comes to accountancy qualifications, the ACA is seen as the gold standard,” Leporiere says. “The ACA gives you a passport for success. Whether you’ve qualified with us at Hays, or anywhere else in industry, you can take that qualification and go pretty much wherever you want.”

Belonging and support

Becoming an Authorised Training Employer is a simple three-step process. It is free of charge and usually takes around three to four weeks to complete, with a dedicated regional business development manager on hand to support you every step of the way and ensure you choose the option that is right for your organisation.

Luke Greasley, Financial Reporting Manager at LADBible Group, says: “The support provided by our regional business development manager is tailored and enthusiastic, focused on the development of each student and with genuine care shown for the welfare of all as individuals.”

If you are interested in training the next generation of chartered accountants by becoming an Authorised Training Employer visit icaew.com/AnswerIsACA/

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